[repost from wordpress]
. . . because I tend to have little but contempt for the people who go on about Darcy and Elizabeth’s throbbing passion or whatever. (Some words should be expunged from all literary discussion, seriously.) However, it turns out that these people have their equally crazy counterparts on the other side – who go on about how dispassionate their relationship is (not to put too fine a point on it – what the bloody hell?) and how Elizabeth never falls in love with Darcy, or even feels attracted to him, but merely feels a detached respect for his general character. This, frankly, always gives me the impression that the person espousing it has never managed to read past Ch 36.
So, I was reading reviews of Colleen McCullough’s evidently abhorrent sequel to P&P, and some idiotic person says:
But I will say that the author click into some truths from the book re. the likelyhood of a passionate Darcy marriage. In the final chapters in P&P there is little evidence of Elizabeths physical responses to Darcy. In the McCullough book the marriage is under pressure from her lack of sexual response and her quantity of to much wit, and his snobbery and dislike of her family.
Admittedly, apostrophes and correct spelling make that kind of thing more convincing.
Nevertheless, I decided to actually check out Elizabeth’s feelings – and, particularly, her physical reactions re: Darcy – post-Pemberley, which I honestly re-read less often than the first part.
Here are Elizabeth’s thoughts during Lydiagate, re Darcy:
The present unhappy state of the family rendered any other excuse for the lowness of her spirits unnecessary; [. . .] had she known nothing of Darcy, she could have borne the dread of Lydia’s infamy somewhat better. It would have spared her, she thought, one sleepless night out of two.
She’s actually – uh, being miserably sleepless over the lost affections of a man whose general character she dispassionately respects.
At the same time there was no one whose knowledge of a sister’s frailty would have mortified her so much; not, however, from any fear of disadvantage from it individually to herself. [. . .] What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could he know that the proposals which she had proudly spurned only four months ago would now have been gladly and gratefully received?
The respect continues. Seriously, she’s just said that she’d be thrilled to accept the proposals he made at Hunsford. Because he’s just such a decent bloke?
She was humbled, she was grieved; she repented, though she hardly knew of what. She became jealous of his esteem, when she could no loner hope to be benefited by it. [NB: Ha!] She wanted to hear of him when there seemed the least chance of gaining intelligence.
Clearly the thoughts of a woman in respect. Honestly, do these people even read the same book?
Here are Elizabeth’s thoughts, after Lydia drops the news that Darcy was at her wedding:
Conjectures as to the meaning of it, rapid and wild, hurried into her brain, but she was satisfied with none. Those that best pleased her, as placing his conduct in the noblest light, seemed most improbable. She could not bear suspense; and hastily seizing a sheet of paper, wrote a short letter to her aunt.
No feeling there, of course. She just wants to think well of him because, uh . . . because.
And here’s Elizabeth after she discovers what he did for Lydia:
Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her [. . .] for herself she was humbled; but she was proud of him. [. . .] She read over her aunt’s commendation of him again and again; it was hardly enough, but it pleased her.
I seem to be a solid again. What was I saying? Something, undoubtedly, about Elizabeth’s rational appreciation of his character.
And, dum da dum, he and Bingley come back to Hertfordshire! Wait – wait – what’s this?
The colour which had been driven from her face returned for half a minute with an additional glow, and a smile of delight added lustre to her eyes.
Yes, Virginia, it’s – *gasp* – a physical reaction. Very physical, by Austen standards, but there is more to come!
but now several minutes elapsed without bringing the sound of his voice; [. . .] occasionally, unable to resist the impulse of curiosity, she raised her eyes to his face
*throbbing music plays*
Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody to coffee, and then was enraged against herself for being so silly.
Young love respect is so charming. And if that’s not a physical response, I don’t know what is. (They spend the evening’s card game watching each other from different tables, and accordingly lose, badly. But there is no attraction here!)
Oh, and after Mr Bennet dismisses the idea of Darcy being in love with her:
Elizabeth had never been more at a loss to make her feelings appears what they were not. It was necessary to laugh when she would rather have cried.
*sniffle* Maybe he deserves the numerous deaths the fandom has inflicted upon him for that.
Don’t worry, Elizabeth. It’s going to get better, and then you can run off to Pemberley and enjoy your
husband new family.
Oh, the post-proposal scene with Mr Bennet. Since she can cry now, maybe he doesn’t deserve to die after all. Anyway:
” ‘I do – I do like him,’ she replied, with tears in her eyes; ‘I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable. [*snicker* Mm-hm.] You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms.’ “
Elizabeth, you are just that awesome. And darling. Oh, here she’s finally delivering her news to Mrs Gardiner:
You supposed more than really existed. But now suppose as much as you choose; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every flight which the subject will afford, and unless you believe me actually married, you cannot greatly err. You must write again, and praise him a great deal more than you did in the last.
That is possibly one of the most deliriously cheerful passages in Austen. Or anywhere, really, because it’s over-the-moon thrilled-with-life cheer that you can really believe.
And what’s with her always wanting people to praise him? You’d think she was in love or something.
I am the happiest creature in the world.
Allow me amend that. It’s one of the most deliriously joyous passages.
I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh. Mr Darcy sends you all the love in the world that can be spared from me.
I mock the crazier D/E shippers, but there’s a reason I still love this ship. This is it: it’s happy, it’s fun, it’s intellectual with lots of chemistry, and they’re just so awesome.
PS – Remember your apostrophes, really. People will take you much more seriously.